SPIDER-MAN (TOY BIZ)
The Punisher. This guy. He’s the quintessential anti-hero. He was the 90s stereotype fifteen years early. He was introduced as a Spider-Man foe in the late 70s, and he seemed to amass a fairly sizeable fan base overnight. Sure, he was never an A-lister, but people knew the guy. He’s had a whole three movies (though only two were actually released theatrically), and he’s set to play a pivotal role in the second season of Netflix’s Daredevil show. If you find Marvel related apparel, there’s like a 99% chance this guy (or his logo) will be there. Plus, he’s one of the few Marvel characters who has ever been allowed to age at a rate vaguely resembling real life. Also, I don’t really like the guy. Wait, what? Yeah, you read that right: I don’t like the Punisher. I mean, I don’t hate him, but I’ve just never seen the appeal. I did love the Punisher parody “Big Shot” for the 90s Tick cartoon, so there’s that. So, umm, let’s look at a Punisher figure?
THE FIGURE ITSELF
The Punisher was released in Series 5 of Toy Biz’s Spider-Man line, which was based on the 90s cartoon. He’s actually the third Punisher figure they released, which doesn’t seem that odd until you realize that, at this point they had only released one single Captain America figure. Hey, it was the 90s. The figure is 5 ¼ inches tall and has 9 points of articulation. While he hails from an animated series-based toyline, he’s actually not based on the animated design (which removed a lot of the black from his costume in order to make animating him a bit easier), but rather his more standard comics look. His sculpt still takes a few key points from the anima aged look, especially the facial features, but also his general build as well. His proportions are fairly standard for the time, being rather exaggerated, though not as severely as other figures. The arms seem to get the worst of it. They’re pretty long, and those biceps are huge. Guess that’s what happens when you lug around a bunch of huge guns all the time! Beyond the proportions, the sculpt actually has some neat touches. The face definitely conveys Punisher’s less than pleasant disposition pretty well. He’s also got some cool straps and pouches, like proper 90s guy should. Punisher’s paint is the real breaking point from the animated look; they’ve just gone for the classic black and white scheme. The paint is pretty sharply handled, and the black and white look really great together. One oddity is his five o’clock shadow, which is conveyed here as just a solid patch of grey on his lower face. To be fair, this is accurate to the cartoon, so there’s that. Punisher actually has a pretty neat assortment of accessories. While he doesn’t have a normal gun, he does have a giant missile launcher (and this was BEFORE Hasbro got the license!) with two different projectiles. He also has a headset, a shoulder holster, a knife (which fits into his leg sheath), and a pin with his logo on it.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
This is the one, single Punisher figure in my entire collection of over 3000 pieces. That’s a position that used to belong to the more cartoon-accurate repaint of this figure from one of the boxed sets, but I ended up giving that figure to a friend of mine who was a Punisher fan a few years back. I’m nice like that. I may not be a fan of the character, but I did like that figure. So, when I found this guy at a dealer’s table at this past Shoreleave, I went for it. I really love this guy. He’s kind of goofy, but in the best possible way.